Northfield farmer honored for 25 years of service to town

NORTHFIELD — A local farmer has been honored for a quarter-century of service to the town.

William Llewelyn was given the 2013 Northfield Citizen Stewardship Award Tuesday.

Llewelyn is chairman of both the Conservation Commission and the Agricultural Commission, the latter of which he helped found in 2005. He was part of the teams that put together Northfield’s open space and recreation plan and helped pass a “right to farm” bylaw in town.

Llewelyn runs Five Point Farm on Upper Farms Road. In 2005, the farm became the first in Franklin County to produce dried corn for heating fuel and animal feed, giving other area farms an alternative to feed from the Midwest and homeowners another local renewable energy option.

The 540-acre farm has been in the Llewelyn family since 1954, when the family came to town from its Ludlow dairy farm.

Llewelyn joined the Conservation Commission in 1988 and has been involved ever since.

“I had dealings with the commission back then, and found out they were looking for volunteers,” he said. “I signed up, thinking I’d just help out for a couple of years.”

The award was given to him by the Open Space Committee, and member Jennifer Tufts presented it to Llewelyn at Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting.

“Bill really contributes to the spirit and goals of our open space plan,” Tufts said. “He’s a supporter of agricultural preservation restrictions and works to make sure our farmland remains in active agriculture.”

She said he’s also done a lot to make it less daunting for those who need to seek permits for work in sensitive ecological areas.

“Bill has been important in building trust in boards like the Conservation Commission that enforce the wetlands protection act,” she continued. “He puts a familiar face on the Conservation Commission, and people who may be suspicious of the permit process know Bill understands. When you go before Bill Llewelyn, you know that he understands the real costs, and will see problems from the perspective of a local farmer and businessman.”

Selectboard Chairman John “Jack” Spanbauer said Llewelyn is the board’s go-to guy for conservation and agricultural questions.

“Bill has always been available to guide us as to what permit or process we need to go through, and to guide us in dealing with emergency work,” he said.

Llewelyn is the seventh recipient of the award, which was established in the town’s original open space and recreation plan in 2005. Past recipients include individuals and groups involved in water and land conservation, advocacy and trail work. Llewelyn’s name will soon join the other recipients on the award plaque in Town Hall.

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